A genetic variation associated with susceptibility to lumbar disc disease, one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders has been identified in a study published in the June 2005 issue of Nature Genetics.
Lumbar disc disease, caused by degeneration of intervertebral discs of the lumbar spine, is a primary cause of lower back pain. While previous studies have provided evidence for an important genetic component to development of lumbar disc disease, the mechanism leading to disease remains largely unknown. Shiro Ikegawa and colleagues describe an altered protein found in cartilage of affected individuals, based on results taken from two Japanese populations of patients and healthy controls. This protein is shown to interact with a growth factor previously associated with connective tissue disorders, suggesting a likely role for this protein in progression of the disease in intervertebral tissues.
Shiro Ikegawa (RIKEN Laboratory for Bone and Joint Diseases, Tokyo, Japan)
Online version of publication available here.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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